Google Exec (Accidentally) Breaks Free-Fall Jump Record

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Google Exec (Accidentally) Breaks Free-Fall Jump Record
A Google exec now holds the record for the highest free fall parachute jump after he fell more than 135,000 feet from the stratosphere.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

If you're afraid of heights, maybe turn this video off right now. For everyone else, get ready to see something awesome.

Thrill-seeker Alan Eustace was taken up into the stratosphere by a balloon while wearing a suit similar to those worn by astronauts, and dropped nearly 136,000 feet. He fell so fast he broke the sound barrier, with peak speeds of more than 800 miles per hour.

His fall lasted about 15 minutes giving him the world record for the highest free fall. The previous record holder, professional skydiver Felix Baumgartner, dropped from about 128,000 feet. His jump was sponsored by Red Bull.

But Eustace isn't a stuntman — he's the vice president of knowledge at Google. Sounds like a cool job, but not one that would prepare you for a record-breaking plummet through Earth's atmosphere.

And maybe one of the craziest parts about all this is that Eustace and his team broke the record ... by accident. Forbes reports they just wanted to test technology used for human exploration in the stratosphere and other extreme environments. 

It took Eustace two hours to make the climb into the stratosphere and once he got up there he decided to just hang out for about a half hour.

A press release from World View, the company who helped develop the technology to make this possible, quotes Eustace from space saying, "I can see the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of Space and it's really awesome!" 

Google actually wanted to help with Eustace's jump but The Verge reports that he turned them down to avoid turning it into a marketing stunt. Instead, he and his team quietly spent three years working on the self-funded project. 

World View hopes to one day adapt the technology for private space travel that would allow them to send people comfortably to space in luxury space capsules.  

This video contains an image from Getty Images.